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The Beach Gourmet: Hara Sushi: Tasty and Good:

Value for money is an oft-used phrase these days, but rarely does one find it applied to both quality and quantity. At the recently opened Hara Sushi on Wilshire at Wellesley, a colleague and I both left more than satiated by some reasonably priced, rather scrumptious lunchtime chow.

Owned by a Mr. James Lee, Hara Sushi (named after his daughter, as well as the name of our server, Ahre) keeps an eye on healthful dishes, without yielding to any compromise regarding the quality or flavor.

A wonderfully generous protocol practiced at Hara’s was made evident to us both when, after each ordering a baked roll, our server informed us that we would receive another, gratis, as they offer a “buy two, get one free.”

My colleague ordered the Dynamite California Roll (mushrooms, scallops and “Dynamite” sauce with California roll, $15.95) and I opted for the succulent sounding Baked Salmon Roll (yam gobo, cream cheese, avocado, salmon with “dynamite” sauce, $12.95), and our bonus plate was simply named “Rock and Roll,” an elegantly presented cucumber- wrapped roll containing a variety of seafood including crab, salmon, and tuna with yam gobo, avocado and asparagus, $12.95. We also shared a plate of Shrimp Tempura, $6.95.

Piping hot, grease-free (all of Mr. Lee’s cooking is done with heart-healthy olive oil), with a piece of calamari as well as a sample of tempura broccoli, the tempura shrimp was juicy and fresh, and overall was rather good.

The Rock and Roll was fresh, light and a pure delight, six cucumber-wrapped rolls, each with a different combination of fillings, such as tuna, avocado and crab, or salmon and asparagus, for example.

My favorite dish on this visit, however, was the Baked Salmon Roll. Served hot, and visually alluring, this was satisfyingly rich, with a cream cheese core orbited by yam gobo (a root vegetable), light and fluffy rice, with juicy and steaming salmon on top, all bathed in a deliciously savory sauce that was delectable indeed.

The service here was quick and unobtrusive, and the décor svelte and bright yet disarming and friendly as evidenced by the aura of joy and happiness emanating from our fellow noontime diners.

Mr. Lee has done a splendid job here, and as a Korean running a Sushi restaurant, he brings a certain inimitable flair to some traditional Japanese dishes.

Hara Sushi, 12222 Wilshire Blvd., WLA, 310.820.1021.

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